HD Radio lawsuit delayed; settlement in the works

hd radio canvas 160wA lawsuit against the U.S.’s largest radio groups that began last December, over a patent conflict in HD Radio technology, has been delayed pending the result of settlement talks. At issue is whether HD Radio infringes a technology patent held by Delaware Radio Technologies (DRT), the plaintiff. (See RAIN coverage here.)

Though widely regarded as a patent-trolling case, the beginning of settlement talks might indicate some merit in the complaint. Or, the targeted radio groups might be seeking to lower the cost of a protracted trial. A settlement might include a flat damage payment, ongoing licensing fees, or both.

The country’s most sprawling (and deep-pocketed) radio groups are named as defendants, including Clear Channel, Entercom, Cumulus, Emmis, Cox, Townsaquare, Radio One, Saga, Entravision, and others — 14 radio holding companies in total. The deadline for those groups to file responses in court has been delayed and discussions proceed. The delay does not affect a another part of the lawsuit targeting over a dozen car companies for their inclusion of HD Radio receivers in dashboards. That litigation proceeds apace.

iBiquity Digital, which developed the HD Radio technical platform, is not named in the suit. iBiquity CEO Bob Struble told us, “We are aware of [the lawsuits] and are working closely with broadcasters and automakers on them.”

Brad Hill